Many, many years ago I happily canoed down the Russian River on a warm, summer day with my boyfriend at the time. It was all sunshine and smiles until we began navigating the rapids, the low hanging willow branches, the boulders, the sandbars and the laughing sunbathers watching the spectacle. Not only was our cooler full of sandwiches and beer lost, it pretty much was the beginning of the end for our relationship.

Canoeing is how I feel about moving. It can test any happy marriage to the brink of tears and nasty snips. So here are my recently experienced tips to help diminish the stress.

1. HIRE A MOVING COMPANY - For the love of God, pay whatever they charge. It's worth every penny, especially when you're trying to hold onto an impossibly tall, floppy, dense memory foam mattress that has been stuffed into a thin plastic bag and there's absolutely no possible way to grip the SOB as you walk up two flights of stairs.

2. PURGE - Don't feel like you can afford a mover? 60 days before you have to move, begin boxing up old clothes, toys, kitchen gadgets and garage goodies. By purging, tossing and selling (Craigslist, LetGo app or yard sale), I suspect you could raise a good portion of that moving bill.

3. PURGE MORE - Do you really need 9 wooden spoons, 7 mixing bowls, 3 pairs of "yard work shoes"? Challenge yourself. Maybe even make it a family game. Whoever gets rid of the most wins some fun excursion.

4. GET A BIGGER TRUCK - If you absolutely must DIY your move, get a bigger truck than you could possibly need. The logic made perfect sense, until we started playing our own personal life-sized version of Tetris... "If we can't get all of our stuff into the square footage of the moving truck, then we won't be able to get it into the same square footage of our storage unit." Tetris is fun on your phone when you're on a long flight to Hawaii. Tetris is not fun when it's all of your belongings crammed into a 104 degree moving truck and escrow closes in 22 hours.

5. GET TWO TRUCKS - Ok, so I had this genius idea as we pondered how to get 4 bikes, a chaise lounge chair, a couple potted plants and a garbage can full of yard tools into the last 2 feet of our rental truck. Here's my idea! Get the truck size you need for all of the boxes and furniture. Rent another smaller truck for all of the mercilessly odd shaped stuff that positively will not fit towards the end. We ended up having to do two hail-marys at the end; One, calling my dad to please come pick up a smattering of odds and ends, quickly followed with a "Ah thanks dad and can you please store them indefinitely?" Two, I had to start emergency dialing the first person that would pick up the phone and come take our super cute beach cruiser bikes. If I had planned better, I could have sold them for a pretty penny, but ended up donating to a friend of friend, because by that point I just could not deal with one more thing.

6. PAY MORE FOR A BIGGER STORAGE UNIT - When it comes to a storage unit, I don't need many frills, but we did end up getting a unit much larger than we originally had planned. That extra floor space not only gave us some much needed breathing room, it really made the truck unloading a little less stressful.

7. KEEP YOUR BOXES - So now that you have a larger storage unit, find a little corner to tuck away some of your flattened moving boxes. This never occurred to me, until I watched my friend Daidri move from California to Utah. I offered to help her a little and bring her some boxes and as light as a feather, she said, "Oh I have enough boxes from our last move. They're all stacked in the attic."

8. SCHEDULE A MANI/PEDI - When all the blood, sweat and tears have subsided, your nails and energy will be wrecked. Plan for a little bit of pampering and tell your accountant it is a "moving" expense.